Out of Hibernation: A Spring Checklist to Wake Up Your Irrigation System

Spring has arrived, and with it comes the need to prepare fields and activate water sources. However, sometimes things don’t go as planned during startup. As you begin your season, it’s important to be aware of potential issues that may arise in the field.

PUMPS & VFDs

When starting up a submersible, booster, or deep well pump after the winter, it is crucial to ensure its smooth and efficient operation through regular maintenance. Take a moment to visually inspect for any oil leaks, check the pump’s level, and examine the motor to make sure everything is functioning properly. Keep an ear out for any excessive vibrations, as they could be a sign of internal pressure issues. Cleaning the sump pit thoroughly will remove any debris or sediment buildup, while inspecting the mechanical seal, packing, lubrication, and mounting points will ensure everything is in top-notch condition. By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to extend the lifespan of your pump and avoid any costly downtime. Don’t forget to check inside your box with Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) too! Those pesky rodents have been known to cause havoc by damaging circuit boards, which can lead to delayed starts or even the need for a complete replacement. At AvidWater, we offer inspection services for pumps and VFDs, providing an extra pair of hands to help you kickstart your season on the right foot.

FILTER STATIONS

After the winter season, it’s important to address any potential issues that may arise at the filter station. However, by properly overwintering your filter station and conducting a thorough inspection before startup, you can minimize these problems. Maintaining your sand media filtration system in excellent condition is crucial for ensuring clean and clear water.

To begin, open your filter tanks and check the level of sand and gravel. It’s essential to inspect the top layer and ensure it is not hardened with sediment or sand from your well. Sometimes, you may even find algae or bacteria growth inside, which can turn your sand into a solid stone, blocking water flow through the filter station.

Don’t forget to clean the black filter located at the top of your filter station manifold. This component is often overlooked but can cause irregular backflushes and waste water if neglected.

If you have a spin clean or disc filter, make sure to remove the screens and thoroughly inspect and clean them. For tougher buildup, a deep chemical cleaning may be necessary. We also offer water tests to determine the quality of your water and provide guidance on keeping your filter station and lines clean.

Keep a close eye on the pressure gauge and backwash valve to ensure optimal performance. If your filter station controller relies on batteries, remember to replace them to avoid any potential failures during the summer.

If you require assistance with servicing your filter station, don’t hesitate to reach out to your outside sales representative to schedule an inspection. We’re here to help you maintain a well-functioning filter station and enjoy crystal-clear water throughout the year.

IN FIELD

Make sure to thoroughly inspect all grates, inlets, outlets, and the overflow spillway to confirm they are functioning properly and are not eroded. Remember to flush the laterals to get rid of any solids. Don’t forget to check the air vents in the field as well. Although they may leak, removing debris can help reduce or even stop the leak. I remember a grower who had an air vent leaking badly, only to find out that dead bees were causing the issue. Always be prepared for unexpected surprises when troubleshooting irrigation systems.

Inspect all drip lines, emitters, and connections visually for any wear, leaks, or damage caused by animals. Ensure that pressure regulators are working correctly and clean any filters that may be clogged. Inspect emitters to guarantee even water distribution, replacing any faulty ones to maintain consistent water delivery. To clean out any remaining debris or mineral buildup from the previous season, flush the system thoroughly with clean water. Consider using acid-cleaning solutions specifically designed for drip irrigation systems, following the manufacturer’s instructions for proper dilution and application. AvidWater offers solutions to help clean out driplines effectively.

If you have a flood system, check levees, channels, and other structures for weaknesses caused by weather, animal activity, or human interference. Regularly remove debris such as branches and trash from channels to ensure smooth water flow during floods. It is also essential to periodically remove sediment from channels to maintain their capacity to handle floodwaters.

KEEPING A WATCHFUL EYE OUT FOR RODENT ACTIVITY IN YOUR FIELDS

Gophers and squirrels can cause a lot of trouble for your agricultural fields, wreaking havoc by munching on crops and disrupting irrigation systems. The first step to tackle this issue is early detection. Take regular walks through your fields, keeping a close watch for telltale signs of burrowing activity such as fresh mounds of dirt, collapsed tunnels, or exposed roots. Additionally, be on the lookout for chewed stems, missing plants, or wilting vegetation, as these could be signs of rodent feeding. Lastly, keep an eye out for characteristic entrance holes around the base of plants or field edges. Gophers tend to create small, round holes, while squirrels leave larger, oval-shaped ones.

Once you’ve spotted signs of rodents, it’s crucial to assess the severity of the infestation. Make a note of the number and location of these signs to get a better understanding of the problem’s extent. This information will help you determine the most suitable control method. It’s also important to differentiate between gophers and squirrels, as their behaviors differ. Gophers are primarily underground creatures, while squirrels may leave visible trails or hidden stashes of food above ground. Keep an eye on their activity levels throughout the year, remembering that gophers are usually more active in spring and fall, while squirrels become more active in autumn as they gather food for winter. If you need assistance, the knowledgeable associates at AvidWater store can provide you with traps and bait to help you control your rodent problem. By keeping a watchful eye and taking the necessary steps, you can effectively manage these pests and safeguard your crops and irrigation systems.

These are some of the things that I have seen pop up when I receive phone calls from growers. The best advice I can give is to prepare in advance. Inspect your system early, that way there are no issues when you need water.

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